how to answer the tell me about yourself question

Reaching the interview phase is one of the most important steps while job searching answering key questions can be your ally for succeeding

Open-ended interview questions or prompts, such as “Tell me about yourself,” are widely used to start either in-person or online video interviews. Walk me through your resume is another example, as is “tell me anything about yourself that isn’t on your resume ” and “explain yourself.”

This article provides thorough “tell me about yourself” advice on what to avoid saying in your response to the interview question, how to organize your answer, and how to get started.

Why do employers ask “tell me about yourself”?

why employers ask tell me about yourself question

It’s usual that employers start interviews with a question like “Tell me about yourself,” as it eases both you and the interviewer into the conversation. It gives the interviewer a brief overview of your experience and education, allowing them to see which ones you believe are most applicable to the job you’re interviewing for.

Employers are also aware that while being a regular interview topic, it nonetheless has a propensity to confound or stump applicants. By providing a thoughtful response to this question, you will give the impression during the interview that you are a self-assured, pressure-tolerant individual who is aware of the requirements for the position.

Some interviewers may use your response to this question as an icebreaker to establish rapport. 

While some interviewers might use your response to start a casual conversation to get to know you better as an icebreaker, others might proceed right into other interview questions after you respond.

Planning your answer

Planning your answer for tell me about yourself question

Even for typical interview questions, it can be challenging to begin formulating your answer. Here are a few questions to ask yourself as you consider how to react and organize your response to stay on course:

What characteristics make you a perfect fit for this job?
Consider what distinguishes you from other job candidates for this position. Maybe it’s your years of experience, highly sought-after expertise, your education, or your technical know-how. Examine the job description carefully and mark the areas where you go above and beyond.

Why are you drawn to the position?
List the reasons why you are excited about the position, how it fits into your bigger career aspirations, and why you believe it to be the ideal next step.

Why are the business or the sector of interest to you?
You should have a greater understanding of the mission, goals, and trends affecting the business after spending time researching the company and the sector. Do these match the objectives you’ve established for your career? What aspects of the business as a whole do you appreciate and like? What about the industry’s future interests you? As you begin to construct your CV, connect the dots between your professional aspirations, the company’s future plans, and any industry trends that stand out to you as particularly significant.

What are some of your best qualities or features that make you a good fit for this position?
Have your friends or coworkers ever said you are particularly organized, for instance? Curious? Entrepreneurial? Generous? Consider your past self-perceptions or how others have perceived you. Next, recall instances from the recent past where you exhibited that quality in your life.

How to answer “tell me about yourself”

How to answer “tell me about yourself”

The tone of the interview can be defined by your answer to the “tell me about yourself” question. In general, as you practice your response, you should aim to provide a compelling personal narrative in two minutes or less. Do the following in your response:

1. Mention prior accomplishments and experiences that are relevant to the role. 

Reread the job description to get started. Make a list of the talents you have that are needed and write any recent activities that have shown them. However, volunteer activity can also enhance your narrative while displaying a dedication to your community. Ideally, you should draw mostly from recent professional experience.

2. Think about how the position you’re seeking is related to your existing position.

 Is this a senior position? If yes, describe how your current position is requiring you to take on more responsibility. Describe how your present talents translate into the new position if you are making a lateral transition to a role with different skills.

3. Pay attention to your skills and qualities that you can back up with evidence. 

When writing the script for each example, concentrate on specifics and results that, if at all possible, you can measure. For instance, it has more of an impact to say that you “raised customer service response rates each quarter by 10% to 15%” rather than “enhanced customer service.” If you are unsure of the details, make a reasonable guess.

4. To ease the conversation, show off your charm. 

It’s a good idea to express your personality with your interviewer—but avoid sharing any personal information—because the “tell me about yourself” interview question is meant to get to know you. You could want to briefly describe interests that show intellectual growth and/or involvement in the community (such as reading, music, sports leagues, volunteering), as well as those that show self-discipline and accomplishment (e.g., learning a new skill, training for a half marathon). An excellent technique to end your response and keep a professional tone is to discuss personal hobbies.

5. Organize your reply. 

You should structure your answer in accordance with a format or formula to make it clear and concise. There are two typical formulas you might take into account:

Future, Past, and the Present

Future, Present, and the Past

Both of these formulas are valid for your response, however, depending on the positions from your past that are most pertinent to the job you’re interviewing for, you might prefer one over the other. For instance, you might want to start with the present if your most recent position emphasizes a lot of the abilities and credentials needed for the position you’re applying for.

You can look for further tips and job interview advice in our blog or consult an experienced international recruitment agency to explore new opportunities around the world.

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